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  1. #1

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    Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    I found "Swiss Family Robinson" on YouTube...good quality, too.
    Even though I wasn't born until 3 years after it was released, this was one of my favorite movies as a kid. I'm sure it must have shown on TV many times. I remember having a coloring/sticker book of the movie.
    I kind of wish they'd change Tarzan's Treehouse back to the classic at the DLR.

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    Re: Disney Films

    this is in response to your statement about " shown on tv many times". If you wiki Wonderful world of Disney you may discover that full lengths were infrequently or never shown on TV during your childhood. Whereas cable as shown my son Tarzen, Toy Story and Tangled many times on cable, therefore Tarzan is the draw to the tree

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    Re: Disney Films

    True. I'm a 70s TV kid and never saw Swiss Family Robinson and, most likely, never found the attraction very appealing because of that (not to mention all those stairs).

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    Re: Disney Films

    The Swiss family version was definitely better for the level of exploration that could be done. In addition it also didn't have that second tree trunk creating that bottle-necking problem in the middle of the walkway.
    "You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer."

  5. #5

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    Re: Disney Films

    Quote Originally Posted by calsig31 View Post
    The Swiss family version was definitely better for the level of exploration that could be done. In addition it also didn't have that second tree trunk creating that bottle-necking problem in the middle of the walkway.
    I agree. The problem with the Tazan Treehouse is that much of it is just a story walkthrough. There's no real feeling of immersion because the treehouse wasn't an integral part of the movie like it was in Swiss Family Robinson. The interactive stuff was okay though.

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    Re: Disney Films

    Quote Originally Posted by laferney Road kid View Post
    this is in response to your statement about " shown on tv many times". If you wiki Wonderful world of Disney you may discover that full lengths were infrequently or never shown on TV during your childhood. Whereas cable as shown my son Tarzen, Toy Story and Tangled many times on cable, therefore Tarzan is the draw to the tree
    In retrospect, my use of the word "many" was most certainly excessive...my apologies. However, since this was before the days of "cable TV" channels as we know them today and WAY before VCRs, the only possibilities of me seeing it that remain are that it was shown on Wonderful World Of Disney in two parts or Disney re-released it in theaters some years later, as they've been known to do, and I was able to go and see it. I can't be sure of which, but it must have been one of those two options.

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    Re: Disney Films

    ^ If I recall correctly, Swiss Family Robinson was re-released theatrically in 1969, possibly in 1972, and again in 1981. It was shown several times in the early years of the original Disney Channel, starting in 1983, after being released to home video in 1982.

    Edit: according to TCM, it was re-released theatrically in 1969, 1972, 1975 and 1981.
    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 04-29-2013 at 02:12 PM.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
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  8. #8

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    I renamed the thread to help people come in here and discuss their thoughts on this classic attraction.


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  9. #9

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    I was a born a little late to be very interested in the Swiss Family Robinson, but I thought that the attraction was done better than Tarzan's Treehouse. The original seemed more authentic and the Tarzan version more "plastic-y" if that makes sense.

  10. #10

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    For me the original Swiss Family Treehouse was a far more imaginative, immersive experience than Tarzan's Treehouse.

    Some of the best posts I've read in that regard are from this thread in 2007:

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano
    The Swiss Treehouse was "real." You participated in it. You used your imagination. You were immersed.

    The Tarzan Treehouse is a cartoon. You are not immersed. The story is force-fed to you. Leave your imagination at the door.
    Quote Originally Posted by techskip
    To me they [The Swiss Family Treehouse and Tarzan's Treehouse] are two totally different experiences. One allowed for the imagination to take hold. The other threw static Disney store displays in your face. One relied on natural energy and music to bring the treehouse to life. The other relied on cheap sound effects and modern projections to "show you how it's done".

    What made Swiss great was that it had less. It felt as if it had been built from a shipwreck. To a little kid that giant water wheel, the pipe organ, the cool bed and giant shell sink... everything... it was like walking into a dream. When I see Tarzan I feel like I'm staring at a display shopping for a Disney T-shirt. The "redeeming" qualities are the bridge and the play area at the bottom. In my book it is an excellent example of forgotten theme and forced marketing.
    Quote Originally Posted by merlinjones
    You know, a lot of people give lipservice to theme and story, but not very often to underlying meaning. The original themes of Disneyland were not chosen at random to service franchise properties but because they meant something to Walt - and to guests. Like a film, it's not a matter of the guest/audience awareness of that theme, that subtext, but the effect or intent or underlying meaning that helps convey the message of reassurance that Disneyland projects. One absorbs it without noticing.

    One reason that the Swiss Family Robsinson Treehouse had meaning to many of us, is it represented something to Walt, the filmmakers and people who loved the movie (at one time, most everyone).

    And I don't mean just meaning for the story - but meaning for the treehouse itself as a symbol of something. You can find it in the film's dialogue:

    "The world is full of nice, ordinary little people who live in nice, ordinary little houses on the ground. But didn't you ever dream of a house up on a tree top?"

    "Don't you sometimes feel that this is the kind of life we were meant to live on this earth? Everything we need, everything, right here, right at our fingertips. You know, if only people could have all this and be satisfied, I don't think there'd be any real problems in the world."

    - - John Mills in Walt Disney's "Swiss Family Robinson"


    I always felt these themes strongly, and I miss finding my bliss in Disneyland's re-creation and expression of that utopian, escapist theme - - an idea you know resonated with Walt too.

    Tell me, what specifically does the treehouse in Tarzan represent, other than survival?

    (...silence...)

    Maybe that's what's missing most of all...

    For fans of Disneyland's Swiss Family Treehouse, the Re-Imagineering blog article "Escape to Paradise" by merlinjones is required reading. A quote:

    ...All of the amazing inventions of the clever castaways were built into [the Swiss Family Treehouse] for the delight of Disneyland guests. A water wheel carried running water from a stream up to the main floors of the treehouse, a sunroof allowed the master bedroom to greet the skies, there were magnificent vistas of the jungle below, a fully equipped tropical kitchen and a library complete with an organ playing Buddy Baker’s catchy Swisskapolka. Heard throughout Adventureland and Frontierland (and beyond), the Robinson’s pumping pipe organ became one of the signature sounds of Disneyland.

    Best of all, the treehouse was built as a you-are-there experience. With no figures or character representations to be seen, it was as if the guest had stepped into the Robinson home, into that other time and place, to find the house just as they left it. You were the star.

    One felt as if the family were out battling pirates for the day and might return at any time. We were to momentarily take their place, making ourselves at home to appreciate their craft and ingenuity, their ability to survive – and thrive – through sheer imagination, resolve and stick-to-it-ivity. We could imagine ourselves living in their balmy world for just a few moments. This was truly an escape to paradise. Anaheim and the 20th Century were places far, far away.

    ...It would be reborn as a marketing tie-in to the upcoming animated feature Tarzan. With a corporate agenda to be serviced, a budget became available to makeover the attraction and the Robinsons were evicted from their treetop home.

    But it wasn’t just the theme that changed, it was the very experience. When Tarzan’s Treehouse reopened to the public, it still had the same floor plan, but was now inhabited by stiff Disney Store-like mannequins posed in unmoving representational set pieces as seen in the Tarzan film. This changed the guest experience from a personal adventure on location to an observational viewpoint more akin to a wax museum.

    The charming inventions of Walt and the Robinsons had been stripped-away, now replaced by children’s museum gimmicks like video projections and trick mirrors, tasked to sell a diorama story of Tarzan and his friends. The water wheel, ropes and pulleys were gone.... It was no longer a convincing walk-through, but a themed walk-past. We remained firmly grounded in the modern world of Southern California.

    The once joyous Swisskapolka was now but a whisper, confined to a scratchy record in the trashed base camp as an homage to fans.

    While Tarzan, as a new property, was certainly more familiar to young children, the original Swiss Family Treehouse never required a familiarity with the film or story to succeed in its illusion. All we needed to know was that a castaway family built a home in a tree. The new treehouse story was tied directly to Tarzan's marketable characters and scenes....
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  11. #11

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    They were going to close the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and put a store in that location. Perhaps by building the store around the tree or something like that. Tony Baxter suggested that instead of closing the attraction and turning it into retail space, they could turn it into Tarzan's treehouse and promote the film.

    There are rumors of a SFR remake. The 20,000 Leagues remake is a go, and will be filmed in Australia, a Pete's Dragon remake is also being looked at . . .

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    I love the original treehouse. If you're in the age of exploration like 6 to 13, the activities there will be irresistable. I fondly remembered the music from the organ. The stairs was a bit of climb, but the lookout was worth the effort. Adventureland meant exploring, which was why I enjoyed the treehouse so much.

    I'm not entirely sure if saving it is necessary these days. Times have certainly changed. The world has gotten smaller. We know a lot more these days. Whether a guest would want to see a simulated living quarters of a marooned family doesn't quite have the same connotations. It used to suggest exotic. Now, people regularly visit such exotic locations with the latest amenities with wifi. It just doesn't make sense to go to the past. While people still go camping, they are not likely to do it the Swiss Family survival style.

    However, there is always the potential of a zombie apocalyse.

  13. #13

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    Quote Originally Posted by kirstenh View Post
    I was a born a little late to be very interested in the Swiss Family Robinson, but I thought that the attraction was done better than Tarzan's Treehouse. The original seemed more authentic and the Tarzan version more "plastic-y" if that makes sense.
    +1 Yep, makes sense

  14. #14

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    Quote Originally Posted by chesirecat View Post
    a Pete's Dragon remake is also being looked at . . .
    The concept of the new version sounds horrible. They are not making it a musical like the original and I'm betting the dragon will be CGI rather than hand drawn as well.
    "You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer."

  15. #15

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    Re: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

    I always enjoyed the sense of adventure of the Swiss Family Treehouse. Even now, my family talks about "surviving" like them if we had to, on some deserted island. I wish they would bring it back, not because of nostalgia, but because of the imagination and excitement it naturally created.
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